I don’t understand
Last night I took my thirteen year old daughter and her friend to an event called Winterjam. This was my third (or fourth) time attending Winterjam as I had gone previously with her older sisters. The event is a multi-artist Christian music show which features top recording artists, especially those that would appeal to teens. In the middle of the event, one of it’s organizers stood up to explain the purpose: “To worship God together.” Included in the event was a clear gospel presentation and a testimony by a man named Tony Nolan.
Tony spoke in a way that was relevant to teens, using social media illustrations to portray how to (and not to) relate to God. The event also included a plea for attendees to sponsor orphaned children until they can meet their “forever families.” Volunteers from the audience were sought for training in preventing teen suicide. Youth workers attended a short session before the show. An offering was taken, some of which would go to our local rescue mission. Finally, artists and speakers alike lifted up the name of Jesus in prayer.
The one bad apple of the night was the protesters positioned outside. They held up signs questioning the faith of attendees (or had their children do so). One man was yelling through a loud speaker as the crowds filed toward the door. There were about 7 of them if I counted right, shouting bible verses and condemnations outside for about an hour as the arena was being filled. I don’t understand. I have seen and heard this group before when attending concerts. Their words are always that of condemnation. I’m certain they didn’t come inside to hear the message.
What I wish they could see is that the music draws in teens (and adults) who might never set foot inside a church because they fear they might meet people like, well, THEM–the protestors! I wish they could understand that almost no one attending the concert thinks that being a follower of Jesus is about listening to loud music. That is certainly not the message that is given inside the arena.
You see, music is just an avenue to bring people to Christ. In our culture people don’t often visit a church out of curiosity. They might go to a concert. Music is a universal language, and we can use it to influence people. I don’t understand the need of some to condemn. I have written previously of the need to build others up in God’s kingdom rather than to tear them down. I pray the three young boys that were present with their fathers will not learn hatred and condemnation, but will learn to reach out to people in love.
Let me leave you with one of the songs sung by Jeremy Camp last night. Well done Jeremy!